About the event
Aviation Bridge is a brand-new initiative of the V4+ Airport Association that is aiming to improve air connectivity between Central Europe and the United States. Our main goal is to meet our long-distance partners and to create a roadmap for the dynamic and streamlined development of tourism between regions of North America and Central Europe.
In recent times, the American traveler hasn’t been venturing out and taking long-distance trips . We want to change this. Our aim is to face the challenge together, find ways to mitigate the risks, and put our heads together to design the best practices to increase the tourist flow between the regions.
The purpose of the Aviation Bridge Conference is to provide an opportunity for one-on-one meetings between all of the industry’s key players: representatives of major European airports, airlines that provide cross-Atlantic connections, travel associations, tour operators, travel agencies, and DMCs. Together, we’ll assess the current state of the industry, discuss the challenges and opportunities we’re facing, and map out growth strategies..
This event will be attended by several major Polish Airports (Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw, Rzeszow) and other airports from the CEE region (V4+ airport-members) as well as LOT Polish Airlines, the Polish Tourism Organization, the Polish Embassy and Chamber of Tourism.
We will address v various key topics, such as:
- American international tourism trends: Where do Americans travel in Europe? Are off the beaten path destinations ready for an increased influx of travelers? Do they provide enough marketing support and services to providers and visitors?
- Major concerns of US travelers: What can European destinations improve to ensure simple, easy, secure travels and the confidence of passengers?
- What do US travelers expect from overseas trips and are their expectations met?
- Are non-stop travels and modern airport facilities a deal-breaker?
- Wellness Tourism: How can Central Europe meet the demands of wellness travelers and the sector’s dynamic growth?
|10:00 – 10:30||Welcome Coffee and networking|
|10:30 – 10:50||
Official opening, welcome speeches
|10:50 – 11:15||Presentations:
Exploring Central Europe – where we are, who we are?
Panel 1 Introduction
Airlines Perspective on Network of the Central European Region and Beyond
Discovering Central Europe: The Value of Traveling and Not Following the Crowds (Aziz Abu Sarah, MEJDI Tours; National Geographic Explorer, Cultural Educator)
|13:20 – 13:35||
Polish National Tourist Office in North America (Jakub Wolosz, PNTO)
|13:35 – 13:45||
Navigating the Future – Longevity Center as a new destination for medical tourism in Poland and Switzerland.
|13:45 – 14:15||Q&A session and discussion|
|14:15 – 15:30||Lunch & networking|
Stay tuned for more confirmed speakers
Polish Airports / V4+ Airports
Stanislaw Wojtera, President of V4+ Association, CEO of Polish Airports. Manager with 20 years of professional experience. Expert and academic lecturer. Associated with the aviation industry since 2013. Since October 2020, President of ‘Polish Airports’ State Enterprise, formerly a representative for the board of Solidarity Transport Hub for Chopin Airport infrastructure. He held managerial positions in PKO BP Group, PHO and PZL Świdnik, among other companies, as well as in the Polish Tourism Organization.
For many years he has held positions in supervisory bodies of capital companies. His professional experience is complemented by his education at the University of Warsaw’s Faculty of Journalism and Political Science, and he also holds a Master of Business Administration degree.
Aziz Abu Sarah
Author, National Geographic Explorer, Cultural Educator, Entrepreneur and TED Fellow, Aziz is at the forefront of responsible travel and the founder of MEJDI Tours, originators of the Dual Narrative™ an innovative approach to harnessing the power of travel to make the world a better place. Aziz has received numerous awards, including the Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East, the Silver Rose Award from the European Parliament and the Eisenhower Medallion from People to People International.
Pawel Galiak serves as the Director of Aviation and Commercial Services for the largest regional airport in Poland, Kraków Airport.
He has a broad expertise in global managing of business activities with particular emphasis on aviation market. Pawel has been working with Kraków Airport since August 2003. Within this time, he has held various positions in commercial related activities at the airport. His success in pursuing the airport’s aviation strategy allowed Pawel to successfully acquire new airlines, new routes and further develop air traffic at Kraków Airport. In order to better understand customer needs in 2006 Pawel introduced Kraków Airport to the Airport Service Quality program and has been supporting the idea of passenger experience, which resulted in numerous awards and recognition across the industry.
LOT Polish Airlines
Christopher Jastrab brings a combined of 10+ years aviation experience in both operational and commercial capacities from his time at Air France-KLM, Lufthansa Group, oneworld Alliance, and in his current role at LOT Polish Airlines.
His professional experience has been targeted on developing, supporting, and fostering the North American market. He is no stranger to launching new flights to Europe as well as identifying commercial opportunity with trade and corporate partners to stimulate more revenue.
Christopher Jastrab holds a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management from Bridgewater State University.
Currently, he is razor focused on positioning Poland as the center of Europe with industry partners to generate more traffic to the CEE region and beyond on LOT Polish Airlines.
Polish National Tourist Office in North America
Jakub Wolosz has over two decades of experience as a seasoned professional in travel, social media, marketing, public relations, and administration within a governmental organization. In his current role, he oversees the execution of social media strategies directed by the Polish National Tourist Office in North America.
Furthermore, Jakub has championed an integrated marketing approach to boost awareness and encourage travel to Poland. He actively participates in leading travel trade conferences, broadens the online and social media footprint, conducts webinars and presentations, localizes content, and ensures accurate translations. He also orchestrates media trips for industry frontrunners to highlight Poland’s attractions and offerings.
Consultant in V4+ Airports Association, experienced in flight operations and network development in commercial and business aviation. Formerly Sr. Key Account specialist in PPL (Poland), Sr. Network Development Manager at SkyUp Airlines (Ukraine), International FBO Manager and Flight Operations Supervisor at AirTaxi.ph (Philippines), and Flight Support Manager at Silver Air (USA)
Amber Achilles Ritter
Managing Deputy Commissioner, Chief Commercial Officer for the Chicago Department of Aviation
Amber Achilles Ritter serves as Managing Deputy Commissioner, Chief Commercial Officer for the Chicago Department of Aviation. In this role, she heads up the Concessions, Real Estate, Customer Service, Marketing, Air Service, and Cargo divisions for both O’Hare and Midway International Airports. She and her staff are responsible for planning the airports’ retail offerings through the current expansion projects and beyond, managing leaseholds, improving customer experience, and other commercial endeavors.
She received her B.A. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School. Prior to joining CDA in 2019, she represented the City of Chicago for 16 years as an attorney with the City’s Law Department.
Dentons Global Advisors
Brett Scott comes to Dentons Global Advisors as Associate Partner withmultiple years of experience in all facets of transportation and technology. Previously, Brett was Vice President of Government Affairs for the largest association representing the used automobile industry and before there held senior level positions at the Department of Transportation under the leadership of Secretary Chao. Furthermore, Brett has held senior positions at an association representing the global cruise industry as well as senior level positions within the shipping conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk. Lastly, Brett held various roles on Capital hill under the leadership of Former Congressman Fred Upton at the Energy and Commerce Committee. A native of Washington DC, Brett currently lives in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife and 2 children.
Consul General of the Republic of Poland in New York
Adrian Kubicki is the Consul General of the Republic of Poland in New York.
Born in 1987 in Toruń, Poland, he is a seasoned diplomat andsociologist, proficient in public relations and communication. He isalso a former journalist and spokes person for LOT Polish Airlines.
He holds a B.A. in social sciences from the University of Warsaw and an M.A. in foreign relations from Collegium Civitas.
For a period of seven years, he worked as a journalist for one of Poland’s largest radio stations, covering significant news stories both within Poland and from various countries worldwide. He contributed to prominent daily newspapers in Poland and to a website dedicated to non-governmental organizations, with a special emphasis on humanitarian
and development aid.
In 2014, he joined the communications team at LOT Polish Airlines as an International PR Manager, establishing relationships with the media in key markets for the airline, including the United States. By 2016, he had risen to the position of spokesperson and Executive Director, entrusted with formulating the communication strategy for LOT’s ambitious global expansion plan. During this period, he and his team
organized over one hundred events and press conferences, announcing the introduction of new services to destinations such as Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Newark, Los Angeles, Miami, and many others. They also introduced new Boeing aircraft into service – the 787 Dreamliner and the 737 MAX. He represented LOT at numerous events, as well as at major international conferences and gatherings across the globe.
In 2017, in collaboration with LOT’s CEO, Rafał Milczarski, he launched a successful public awareness campaign aimed at educating Polish passport holders about the U.S. visa application process, with the goal of reducing the visa refusal rate to below 3%. This campaign ultimately led to Poland’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program in 2019.
In August 2019, he transitioned into the Polish foreign service within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, receiving a consular title and assuming a tenure as Director of the Polish Cultural Institute in New York – a component of Poland’s diplomatic mission to the U.S., specializing in the field of public diplomacy.
In January 2020, he received an official appointment to assume the role of the new Consul General of Poland in New York. In February 2020, he successfully underwent a hearing before a parliamentary commission, receiving approval to assume the position in March 2020.
He is married to Anna and is the proud father of his six-year-old daughter, Laura, and one-year-old Julia. During his leisure hours, he enjoys playing both the piano and the organ, and he is also an amateur but very enthusiastic golfer.
Journalist, Author and Copywriter
David Farley is a food and travel writer. He is the author of three books, including “An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town,” which was made into a documentary by the National Geographic Channel, and “Travelers’ Tales Prague: True Stories.” He writes regularly for the New York Times, National Geographic, and Food & Wine. Farley has lived in Prague, Rome, Berlin, and currently calls New York City home.
Fora Travel Inc
A travel entrepreneur passionate about storytelling and sustainability, Kelley is the Head of Marketing at Fora, a new company reinventing the travel advisor space in a way that’s modern, inclusive & cool. She is also the founder of Impact Travel Alliance, a 501c3 nonprofit and the world’s largest community for socially and eco-conscious travelers. Previously, she led Elsewhere Agency, a boutique creative agency for travel brands, and was the Head of Marketing at ViaHero. A leader in sustainable tourism, Kelley is currently serving as one of 30 global leaders on the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Sustainable Tourism.
Kelley has presented at the United Nations, MMGY’s Vail Summit and Women’s Travel Fest, and has been interviewed by press including the New York Times, Fast Company, National Geographic Travel, CNN Travel, Sustainable Brands, Forbes, Mashable and Refinery29.
She is the recipient of an award as an Outstanding Woman in Hospitality from Women in Travel & Tourism International (witti) and has been noted as one of the Top 100 Female Founders by Travel Massive. She is also the recipient of a Bessie Award for excellence in Social Impact from the Women in Travel Summit (WITS). Kelley has a bachelor’s degree in Media & Culture from The New School. She is based in Brooklyn, New York with her partner and their cat, Vincent.
Senior Vice President, Industry Affairs & Education
American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA)
Having joined the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) in 2015, Mark Meader is responsible for advocating on behalf of agencies, travel advisors and consumer communities with travel suppliers, technology providers, other trade associations, coalitions and various government entities. Mark is also the driving force behind the ASTA Verified Travel Advisor Certification program as well as the highly-rated educational content at annual ASTA events fostering agency growth and learning worldwide. He promotes and defends the agency community ensuring the travel advisor’s voice is heard clearly and the advisor is well represented throughout the industry. Mark also serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the WTAAA – the World Travel Agents Associations Alliance, an organization facilitating the exchange of ideas and information to the agency community across the globe.
A travel industry expert with experience around the globe in the agency, GDS, airline and travel association communities, Mark served previously as Vice President, Business Development at the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) and has firsthand knowledge of the travel industry from his time at American Airlines, the Sabre Corporation where he was a senior executive based in the U.S. as well as in both Europe and Asia-Pacific. Also, at United Airlines, Mark worked on various aspects of their merger and integration with Continental Airlines. He began his travel industry career as an outside sales advisor at a travel agency in the Boston area.
Travel is Mark’s passion. When not focused on industry concerns and education facing the agency community and overall industry, you’ll find him plotting and planning his next travel adventure to a new part of the world he’s yet to explore.
Dubrovnik Airport Ltd.
Viktor Šober is the CEO of Dubrovnik Airport Ltd. Before joining Dubrovnik Airport in August 2022, Viktor was a Croatian diplomat, he was based in Brussels for more than 11 years where he was working for the Permanent Representation of Croatia to the EU.
During his diplomatic post, he was engaged in Croatian accession negotiations for the EU accession, his responsibilities included oversight of the several negotiation chapters, such as general transport policies with the specific focus on aviation, information society and digital technologies. After Croatia gained its full EU membership, Viktor represented national positions in the field of aviation and information society in the Council of the EU.
Furthermore, within the framework of the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, which Croatia took over in the first half of 2020, Viktor was the chairman of two working parties of the Council of the EU, and he was the lead coordinator for Transport, Information Society, Cybersecurity and Postal Services Unit within the Permanent Representation of Croatia to the EU.
Viktor earned an MBA from the University of Zagreb – Faculty of Economics & Business, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Air Transport from the University of Zagreb – Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences. He is married and has three children, two sons and a daughter.
Joanna, accomplished entrepreneur, led multinational companies. Passionate about healthcare, she founded Warsaw's 2019 Longevity Center. With expert doctors, they focus on preventive care using diagnostics, epigenetics, biomarkers for biological age. Also co-founder of International Institute of Longevity, chairwoman of Longevity Vaduz Roundtable, collaborating with global age science experts.
Top 50 women in Aging Analytics Agency's development list. Longevity Center is part of Luxembourg's Longevity Group SA, aiming for more centers across Europe soon.